Over 1.6 million temporary visa holders in Australia on Census night

Media Release

There were 1,639,000 temporary visa holders in Australia in August 2021, made up of 1,614,000 temporary residents and 25,000 overseas visitors, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Jenny Dobak, ABS head of migrant statistics, said today’s release offers a unique insight into temporary residents in Australia on Census night 2021.  Temporary residents include people residing in Australia for at least 12 months on temporary skilled, student, working holiday and Special Category (New Zealand citizen) visas.

“Today’s data highlights the characteristics of temporary residents in Australia, with results showing that 92 per cent of people were proficient in English,” Ms Dobak said.

“Almost two in five temporary residents, or around 39 per cent, held a bachelor’s degree or higher, with around half of students and just under two-thirds of temporary skilled visa holders holding at least a bachelor’s degree."

The new data also offers insights into employment, with Carers and Aides (7 per cent) the most common occupation for employed temporary residents.  ICT Professionals (12 per cent) was the most common for people who held a temporary skilled visa.

Top 10 occupations(a) of employed temporary residents
 OccupationPersonsProportion (%)(b)
1Carers and Aides66,0006.8
2Road and Rail Drivers53,1005.5
3Cleaners and Laundry Workers52,5005.4
4Sales Assistants and Salespersons47,6004.9
5Food Trades Workers47,4004.9
6Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals45,6004.7
7Specialist Managers40,0004.1
8Hospitality Workers38,2003.9
9Factory Process Workers38,0003.9
10Health Professionals34,9003.6
  1. Top 10 by number of persons.
  2. Occupation not stated has been excluded from totals when calculating proportions.

The most common industry of employment for employed temporary residents was Food and Beverage Services (12 per cent), with 23 per cent of students working in the industry.

Around 1.3 million temporary residents lived in capital cities, mainly living in Greater Sydney (26 per cent), Greater Melbourne (24 per cent) and Greater Brisbane (13 per cent).

“Greater Brisbane claimed the highest representation of New Zealand citizens, under the Special Category visa, with a population of 139,600 people,” Ms Dobak said.

  1. As a proportion of temporary residents in Australia (including Other Territories, no usual address and migratory, offshore and shipping areas).

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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